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When the fever overpowers common sense


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#1 Chris Coffee

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 11:00 PM

Well, I did something really stupid today and now I am paying for it. I have become so overcome with the desire to find enough gold to expand my detector inventory that common sense took a flight out the window today. I woke up this morning and decided to go do some detecting even though I knew I was going to have to go out alone. Normally that wouldn't be too big of a deal, but it was rather hot today and I have been feeling pretty worn out the last couple of days from all the drywashing I have been doing. In my haste to get out, I only grabbed one small drink to take with me. So to make a long story short..... 24 miles out in the middle of nowhere in the Mojave Desert, one little bottle of fluid, 9 hours of heat, detecting, and drywashing, and now I have a MASSIVE headache, I can't stop shaking, and I have the telltale signs of dehydration. If I would have went down out there nobody would have known where to find me. All that and no nuggets to be found. Hopefully the bucket of concentrates I brought home will pay off a little when I pan it out tomorrow.
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#2 Geof_junk

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 04:42 AM

Well the best thing is you will not do that again. In the outback (Aus) as well as water you must take medication, GPS, Communication, and batteries and back-up. If you don't you sure can be in trouble.
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#3 LuckyLundy

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 07:18 AM

Chris,

I'd head to the Doc's Office for a IVee. Always, have some spare water bottles rolling around behind your trucks seats. Wish you well

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#4 fredm

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 07:37 AM

Oh to be young and dumb again....hopefully you will temper your passion with better preparation...since there will be a next time, this time.

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#5 AzOverland

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 08:49 AM

I almost lost my life once hiking with only a gallon of water on a cool morning that turned into a HOT summer day. My best friend didn't make it back to the vehicle, he collapsed about 200 yards from the vehicle, foaming at the mouth. I will never forget it and I have never behaved the same.
IF you are going outdoors in the desert you first thought above all else must be HYDRATION, HYDRATION, HYDRATION.....
Water should take the priority over clothing or even shoes.
I don't drink to much booze the night before and after coffee I drink alot of Gatorade in the morning BEFORE I go out. In some cases when it is very hot and you are expending yourself you can actually loose more water then you can drink. One should understand this and recongnize the signs and quickly stop what you are doing, cool down and hydrate.
The easiest way to kill yourself in the desert is not rattlesnakes or drug smugglers it's dehydration and it sneeks up on you quick.
Oro Adicción - Character is easier kept than recovered, gold is not.

#6 ~LARGO~

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 10:41 AM

Hi all,

Yep, water is good, but it isn't the end all to avoid heatstroke, and it appears you may have just that.
Best head to the Dr. to see what he/she can do for you.

My Dr. counseled me to drink lots of liquids when I go in the desert, what he DIDN'T tell me that I need to drink liquids that contain vitamins and electrolytes. The upshot of that was, that I did drink lots of water, then in the 110 degrees detecting and digging, I got very weak, and had a roaring headache, headed back to my little rv trailer, and for the next 3 days, I could barely function, didn't feel like doing anything but lay and try to rest, trying keep as cool as I could with wet washcloths.

Now, I hydrate all I can immediately before I head out from my rig, carrying no less than two 32 ounce bottles of the Gatorade type drink, or Powerade Zero, which has vitamins, but no sugars. I carry some energy bars and munch on one of those when get a little hungry. I wear a light weight hat, with a drape that covers almost all but the face, which I soak in water before I go out as well, when it is really hot. If you like living, taking the time to prepare for the worst is a good thing. I even carry a very small reflective cover to wrap myself up in, in the event I have something happen that would cause me to have to stay out overnight in the desert, which at night, are not always nice and warm...

Just a few thoughts...

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#7 oldies1955

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 11:30 AM

Well, I did something really stupid today and now I am paying for it. I have become so overcome with the desire to find enough gold to expand my detector inventory that common sense took a flight out the window today. I woke up this morning and decided to go do some detecting even though I knew I was going to have to go out alone. Normally that wouldn't be too big of a deal, but it was rather hot today and I have been feeling pretty worn out the last couple of days from all the drywashing I have been doing. In my haste to get out, I only grabbed one small drink to take with me. So to make a long story short..... 24 miles out in the middle of nowhere in the Mojave Desert, one little bottle of fluid, 9 hours of heat, detecting, and drywashing, and now I have a MASSIVE headache, I can't stop shaking, and I have the telltale signs of dehydration. If I would have went down out there nobody would have known where to find me. All that and no nuggets to be found. Hopefully the bucket of concentrates I brought home will pay off a little when I pan it out tomorrow.


Ahh...dont feel too bad Chris.
Ive done that here at home!
Working my tail off all day in the summer....getting stuff done...thinking im drinking enough and....man, im not sweating anymore..really hot...headache (pounding)...Have to stop and drink, drink, drink, take a cold shower. It goes away.
Heres some tips.
I freeze 2 gallons of water the night before. One in the cooler to keep the food cold and one to start drinking on.
Pre-load with water before you go out walking. You may pee it out but at least you got some of it in the body.
Take a canteen or camelback pack.
Freeze the canteen water and freeze a couple of gatoraides.
I take a MIN. of 2 gallons per day when I go out.
PLAN for the worse. Sit around and think....what if this breaks on the truck or this goes out.
I carry a extra battery out of my other car, 2 cans of fix a flat, a tire plug kit, complete set of tools, extra oil, extra gas.....all kinds of stuff.Ive gotten two flats in one trip before.
Ive had to walk out before and it aint no fun!
ALWAYS leave a map of where your going with someone. Try not to deviate from it too much,even though its tempting.
Bring extra food. Its a lot easyer to unpack it after the trip then to wish you had it if your stuck.
Bring blankets. Buy a orange or red blanket.....you can throw it over the top of your truck if your stuck hard and the helo's are out looking for you.
Side arm....definently. Throw a couple of bic lighters in the glove box.
Ill write some more about desert adventures tonight and post them....
It happens, least you made it back and can share it with others. Dont feel alone.....a lot of of us have done this if we want to admit it or not. :)
Tom
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#8 Miner49

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 12:12 PM

Chris,

All of the above is very sound advice, you can't be too careful out prospecting. I have gathered most of the
essentials mentioned above and keep it in a storage bin (a larger version of what the desert fox comes in).
My problem in the past was gathering everything and hoping not to forget anything. Now it's simple I grab the box
and everything is there...I personally add two cases of drinking water from Costco just in case.

The latest tool I've added to my Cell Phone, GPS is a SPOT emergency GPS locator, it will work everywhere - cell phones won't -- I have pre-programes messages that send e-mails and text messages to family and friends with my exact GPS location. the first button sends for just checking in --2. to will have to spend the night-- 3. I can also request road assistance from SPOT 4. send the helicopters...by the way I signed up for $300,000 worth of emergency rescue insurance.

It's a couple hundred dollars for the SPOT device and service, but I think it's well worth it.

Have fun - keep safe so we can hear about your adventures in the future.

Charlie

#9 1Boeing737

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 12:16 PM

Ouch, Chris you and me are both lucky. You struck a memory. Same thing happen to me, except I walked away from the water, and drifted out to far.

My episode started out with a head ache, then I got nauseous with the shakes. Nevertheless, I learned my lesson. Good topic.

#10 Chris Coffee

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 01:32 PM

Well, I took a cold shower and drank until I couldn't drink anymore last night. Was so dehydrated that I even had my lady, Diamond Queen, bring me a cold drink while I was showering. I fell asleep shortly after getting out and luckily woke up this morning feeling good. Won't be making that mistake again. Thanks for all the input.
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#11 1Boeing737

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 02:04 PM

The heat can practically kill you in all cases.

#12 DOC

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 04:20 PM

Chris,

You weren't just dehydrated, you had heat exhaustion and you were maybe on the verge of heat stroke of could have even had heat stroke; which can be deadly.

Not funny. Very serious. Anyone who ventures out detecting that doesn't wear a hydration bladder, I recommend the largest you can get around 110 ounce, should have their head examined.

It's not enough to have water available, you have to have it convenient. The hydration bladders like Camel Baks have a tube that clips onto your shirt collar and keeps a bite valve right my your mouth. No handed you can just turn your head bite the valve and get a sip of water. You need to take water on board at least every 10 minutes.

Take care, glad you are OK. Here is an article I wrote in 2002 about Summer Heat Survival

Summer Prospecting - Extreme Heat Survival Tactics

by G.M. "DOC" Lousignont, Ph.D.
© 2002 G.M. Lousignont, Ph.D.

Not wishing to think I am anything less than a manly man, who loves to be in the great outdoors, regardless of the weather or temperature, and sweat manly sweat, and develop manly smells emanating from my armpits that make cacti within a 100 yard radius die, I struck out into the desert this past Thursday June 6th, 2002, in 111 degree heat! ARGHH Me HARDIES!

Well, there is a benefit to hunting in this kind of heat. It slows you down so much that you actually may find a nugget. I only found one nugget but I don't think I would have found it if I was going at my normal rate. The nuggie was under a big flat rock measuring about 10 inches by 20 inches by 3 inches thick. You could not hear the nugster through the rock, but you could barely hear it at the edge of the rock. Armed with by trusty Minelab GP Extreme, and 14 inch Coiltek Manufacturing coil I stood there for what seemed like 10 minutes rubbing my coil back and forth against the edge of that rock in a heat induced stupor. I was trying to decide whether it was a target. All of a sudden, after a gulp of water, I had this brilliant idea! MOVE THE DAMN ROCK! You see all the expensive equipment in the world is no substitute for using your head!

As soon as I moved the rock and was able to put the coil over the target I got a nice clear crisp signal. Six to seven inches, two fist sized rocks, twenty minutes, a gallon of sweat and 27 dead cactus later, I popped out this nice little 1.2 pennyweight nuggamoola.

I just knelt there on the ground looking at that pretty little gold nugget laying on top of the pile of dirt glistening in all of its glory in the hot desert sun. My mind raced as I realized that since the beginning of time when God and Mother Nature collaborated to create and deposit this anomaly of geological formations, I was the first person to ever lay eyes on this "tear from the sun." If that doesn't give you a special feeling and make you feel more connected to life, then you just don't get what this prospecting thing is all about.

I tried to pick the nugget up, but in my depleted condition I was too weak to lift it. I would have never recovered it if not for the fact that I passed out and fell face first into the pile of dirt and the nugget lodged between the gap in my front teeth.

All kidding aside, this heat is not for the weak of heart, or body, or spirit! If you are not in good physical condition then don't attempt to hunt in these extreme conditions. I hunt all year round and have always hunted the whole summer. The hottest temperatures I hunted in last year was 117. After nine hours in the sun I was able to stand my shirt in a corner; it was so stiff from all the salt deposited on it from sweat.

A couple of recommendations.

In this kind of heat allow yourself a gallon and a half of water for the day with a 2 gallon emergency backup in your truck. You may need this extra water to pour on yourself in case of heat related illness. I carry a 5 gallon Hinckley & Schmitt type water jug in case of being stranded. I always carry enough canned goods to see me through a week. I carry a GPS with me at all times, and I have one of the old type lunch box looking 5 watt cell phones. I have to pay $29.95 extra a month to have this cell phone because naturally it has a different phone number than my little portable phone, however, I can get a good reliable cell signal anywhere I hunt. A dollar a day is worth the protection of being in touch with the outside world in case of an emergency.

Get yourself some light tan colored long sleeve lightweight cotton t-shirts! Yes long sleeves! They are not uncomfortable and keeping the sun off of your arms protects you from skin cancer and actually keeps you cooler. Wear sunscreen! Wear sunscreen! Wear sunscreen! Oh, and another thing, did I mention that you should WEAR SUNSCREEN!

I have had 15 skin cancer lesions removed from my face, arms, shoulders, chest. All as a result of sun damaged I got as a child. Don't screw around with skin cancer! Fortunately the cancers I had were all basal cell carcinomas which are very slow growing and are easily removed, completely. However, I know other nugget hunters that have had melanomas removed! Melanomas are the deadliest kind of skin cancer; very often fatal if not caught in time.

Which brings me to my next point, always wear gloves! Oh I know it's not macho to wear gloves! Who gives a rat's patoot! The melanoma that my Aussie friend had removed was on his hand!

In addition to gloves protecting your hand from the sun there are other good reasons.

#1. Dry desert dirt has a very drying effect on your hands. You will soon have all the moisture sucked out of your hands and they will crack and bleed and be very painful. No one will want to hold hands with you at the movies.

#2. Gloves protect your hands from abrasions when moving rocks. They protect against blisters when wielding a pick.

#3. They protect your hands when you pick up dirt as you never know what's in the dirt. Hoss Blackman while in Australia, picked up a handful of dirt and got bitten by a white centipede. Not deadly, but very painful.

Get yourself cabretta leather roping gloves. This is the same leather they make golf gloves out of and they are very supple, thin and soft. You will not even know you are wearing gloves!

I bought a Platypus 2 liter water bladder with the tubing and bite valve. Get one, and use it, you must stay hydrated.

Forget the fancy dancy ones that come in a backpack, they are a pain in the rear. Just get the bladder and then fashion your own holder. I used neoprene with a fabric on one side that is like the loop side of velcro. I then sewed a piece of fabric onto it making a long horizontal pocket, and sewed a piece of hook velcro on the one end. I put the bladder in the pocket and wrap this around my lower back like a belt, above my battery pack. I secure it in front with the velcro tab that sticks to the material on the neoprene.

Now here's a trick. The night before you go out, throw that bladder in the freezer. When you get out to the field, strap that baby on with that solid piece of ice in the middle of your back smack dab over your kidneys. As you hunt the ice melts and provides an icy refreshing drink as the remaining ice helps to keep you cooled down.

I can't overemphasize how important it is to use one of these hydration bladders as opposed to a canteen. With a canteen you have to stop, get your canteen, use both hands to open it, take a drink and then resume your hunting. Net result? You don't drink as much or as often as you should because it is too inconvenient.

In extreme heat you should be hydrating no less than every 10 minutes. With a hydration bladder this is a no brainer. The sipper bite valve on the end of the tubing has a small clamp that allows you to attach it close to your mouth. I clamp it to my suspenders, and the bite valve sits to the right of my mouth. If I need a drink I turn my head slightly, grab the bite valve in my mouth, gently depress the valve with my teeth and drink till by heart's content. I never have to stop, or miss a swing.

Now it's all about finding gold right? Well yes, as long as you can do it safely, but it's about having fun too. Well you are more likely to find gold and have fun if you are operating at your peak, and your body cannot do that without proper hydration. Don't argue, I have a wife and children for that! Get a hydration bladder and use it!

Another important factor when working in extreme heat is Hyponatremia. No that's not being put into a trance where your subconscious mind is programmed to find gold; that's hypnosis! Hey, I wonder if being hypnotized would improve my gold finding abilities? Anything for science!

Hyponatremia is a condition suffered when the body gets low on sodium. When you are drinking a lot of water, and profusely sweating the sodium level in your blood stream becomes severely diluted. It is recommended that you ingest one gram of sodium per hour. Now as soon as someone says sodium, someone always thinks of salt! Salt is Sodium Chloride. In order to get one gram of Sodium you would need to ingest 2.5 grams of salt. That will yield 1 gram of Sodium and 1.5 grams of Chloride.

You can take salt tablets, however they give the body a jolt of Sodium and then the Sodium level falls off. It is better to carry along some salty type foods. Pretzels, corn chips, Wheat Thins, or similar snacks will help you keep your sodium levels up and also provide carbohydrates for energy.

The spectrum of symptoms can range from mild to severe and can include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech, confusion, and inappropriate behavior. As it progresses, victims may experience seizures or coma, and death can occur. Severe hyponatremia is a true medical emergency. http://www.rice.edu/...ports/salt.html

Wear a hat with a piece of clothe to cover your neck. You can either get a Protector Detector hat like I have available, or take a baseball hat and sew a piece of fabric into it. Sew the fabric all the way around so it covers your ears as well. Use a jersey type material. Jersey is soft and absorbent. Put your headphones on over the material. In this way perspiration from your ears, under hot headphones, is absorbed and wicked outside to evaporate. Your ears stay dry and cool.

If you are out of shape then don't venture too far from your car. There are three conditions that can occur in this kind of heat. One is heat cramps. This is not life threatening. The next is heat exhaustion which is serious.

The other which is very serious is heat stroke! If you do not know the difference, all the symptoms, or the treatment, you can get detailed information by looking it up on the internet.

Briefly, heat cramps are caused by muscle contractions in both the gastronomies or hamstring area (back of calves). Water, cool air and rest is the treatment.

Heat Exhaustion

The symptoms of heat exhaustion can range from mild to severe and can include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech, confusion, elevated body temperature, and inappropriate behavior. (That's what my wife calls my love of gold prospecting; inappropriate behavior!) As it progresses, victims may experience seizures or coma, and death can occur. Get yourself somewhere cool and shady. Increase your intakes of liquids, and replace electrolytes with things like sports drinks. Place cool rags on your body or soak your clothes with your emergency water supply. If body temperature remains elevated even after treatment, it's best to consult your doctor.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and the person exhibiting symptoms should be immediately evacuated for medical attention.

I have suffered from both heat exhaustion and heat stroke prior to learning how to survive desert heat.

The two primary indications of heat stroke are a red flushed face and that you stop sweating. You will usually become disoriented and not be thinking clearly. If you stop sweating you are in trouble and in the throws of heat stroke, which can be fatal. You must treat yourself immediately, and follow up with medical attention as soon as possible.

If you get over heated, head for your car, start it up, pour water on your clothes and turn the air conditioner on. Start hydrating yourself like crazy. I like to keep sports drinks in the cooler of my car for just such an emergency. Call it quits for the day. If you feel you may be suffering from heat stroke call for help. Remember a body temperature approaching 106 or above can cause headaches, rapid pulse, seizures, unconsciousness, coma and death!

If towards mid day you start to get a headache that is a sure sign that you have not had enough to drink, and you are getting dehydrated. Make sure you carry food with you. Whether or not you have lunch back at the car in a cooler, ALWAYS, sun or snow, take along a couple of granola bars in case you need energy.

That's all I can type for now as my two fingers are tired. I'm sure you can all think of some additional helpful hints for keeping cool, while acting a fool, trying to find the golden jewel!

If you happen to run across my dry rotting sun bleached bones in the desert someday, pour a little water on me in memory. You can have my metal detector but keep your hands off my gold!

Remember, Be Careful Out There!

DOC
BCOT !

DOC
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Las Vegas, NV 89119
1-800-477-3211 ext. 14

#13 Chris Coffee

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 05:56 PM

You're absolutely right, DOC. Not funny at all. In fact, truth be told, it took me almost 20 minutes just to post the original message because my brain didn't seem to be functioning correctly. I would write a few lines and then stop to proofread them, and I would just stare at the screen in a complete daze because what I was reading didn't seem to make any sense...even though I had just written it. Needless to say, I have learned a very valuable lesson indeed. The really sad part about this is that I had every opportunity to avoid such a situation, and just didn't use the common sense to do it.

Being a hunter and an off-road enthusiast I have numerous hydration packs laying around, 5 to be exact, and each one holds at least 100 oz. I also keep a Rubbermaid storage bin packed with snacks in preparation for hunting season. I have 2 GPS units (Garmin Vista Hcx and Nuvi 500) and 9 different maps that cover the entire state of California. However, I wasn't smart enough to take any of that with me. And although I did have my Verizon Wireless cell phone with me, as touched on by Miner49, I didn't have any service out where I was at. I told my lady where I was going to be, but then like an IDIOT, I ended up driving about 9 miles in the opposite direction to an area I had never been to before.

I really am glad that things turned out for the better and I didn't have any lasting effects (that I know of, at least). I realized yesterday that I am not as young in body as I am in spirit. I just turned 40 a couple of weeks ago, but in my heart I am still 20. I know 40 isn't that old, but my entire working life has been in the construction and mechanic field, so physically I feel like I'm 90. Although I am still going to work my butt off to accumulate some color, I am going to do it with a much more self-sustaining state of mind than before. Most people that I know of keep all the gold they find, but I have a plan for mine and I just gotta get enough of it to get the ball rolling.

Thanks again for all advice and input. I truly hope that this topic has helped to show the importance of proper preparation in this hobby so someone who has never experienced this.....doesn't have to!!!
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#14 Guest_sandtrap_*

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 08:04 PM

Take care, Chris !
We still have not hunted together yet ..

#15 Chris Coffee

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 08:15 PM

Hey John,

We definitely need to do that. Just got my truck back this past Saturday after 3 weeks in the shop and $2,000 in repairs. So much for saving for a GPX , huh? LOL. Give me a call and we can set it up.760-307-5054. Talk to you soon.
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#16 wjbell

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 08:41 PM

You're absolutely right, DOC. Not funny at all. In fact, truth be told, it took me almost 20 minutes just to post the original message because my brain didn't seem to be functioning correctly. I would write a few lines and then stop to proofread them, and I would just stare at the screen in a complete daze because what I was reading didn't seem to make any sense...even though I had just written it. Needless to say, I have learned a very valuable lesson indeed. The really sad part about this is that I had every opportunity to avoid such a situation, and just didn't use the common sense to do it.

Being a hunter and an off-road enthusiast I have numerous hydration packs laying around, 5 to be exact, and each one holds at least 100 oz. I also keep a Rubbermaid storage bin packed with snacks in preparation for hunting season. I have 2 GPS units (Garmin Vista Hcx and Nuvi 500) and 9 different maps that cover the entire state of California. However, I wasn't smart enough to take any of that with me. And although I did have my Verizon Wireless cell phone with me, as touched on by Miner49, I didn't have any service out where I was at. I told my lady where I was going to be, but then like an IDIOT, I ended up driving about 9 miles in the opposite direction to an area I had never been to before.

I really am glad that things turned out for the better and I didn't have any lasting effects (that I know of, at least). I realized yesterday that I am not as young in body as I am in spirit. I just turned 40 a couple of weeks ago, but in my heart I am still 20. I know 40 isn't that old, but my entire working life has been in the construction and mechanic field, so physically I feel like I'm 90. Although I am still going to work my butt off to accumulate some color, I am going to do it with a much more self-sustaining state of mind than before. Most people that I know of keep all the gold they find, but I have a plan for mine and I just gotta get enough of it to get the ball rolling.

Thanks again for all advice and input. I truly hope that this topic has helped to show the importance of proper preparation in this hobby so someone who has never experienced this.....doesn't have to!!!


Yeah, good advice from DOC... and I'm right there with ya. Been in construction trades all my working life. I'm pushin 45 and still think I'm 20 :spank: Mostly we can hack it but just be smart about it. I don't take any serious chances while out. Not worth it.

#17 AzOverland

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 10:10 PM

Forget the fancy dancy ones that come in a backpack, they are a pain in the rear. Just get the bladder and then fashion your own holder.........
If you happen to run across my dry rotting sun bleached bones in the desert someday, pour a little water on me in memory. You can have my metal detector but keep your hands off my gold!

Remember, Be Careful Out There!

DOC


I have to disagree with DOC. Check out the Osprey Manta 30 backpack. I can't say enough about the pack, it is the best hydration pack on the planet.

3 liter bladder

1800 cubic inch of storage

net backing keeps the pack off your back

less then 2 pounds

No questions asked lifetime warranty on anything on the pack that has not been modifed.

____________________

I only put water in my bladder. I keep a small canteen and will mix the small Emergen-C packages when in need of vitamins and electrolytes. Emergen-C is a great product.

When not in use store your bladder in the freezer, this will keep it from getting funky and moldy.

_____________________________

If you find my bones out there go ahead and take my gold, there's plenty in the streets where I'm goin' :lol:
Oro Adicción - Character is easier kept than recovered, gold is not.

#18 Border Boy

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  • Location:somewhere in the desserts of sotheast az
  • Interests:gpx 5000, dredging, drywashing, looking for virgin placers, tattooing, and helping others

Posted 02 June 2011 - 12:19 AM

:spank: :spank: :spank: Glad your OK
Gold, my drug of choice!

#19 nvchris

nvchris
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Posted 02 June 2011 - 09:37 AM

Hey Chris,
Give yourself and your family some peace of mind, invest in a spot locater.

#20 Brent in MT

Brent in MT
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Posted 02 June 2011 - 10:18 AM

Hey Chris,
Give yourself and your family some peace of mind, invest in a spot locater.



Thanks Chris, I could use that for sure.




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